At the 2014 World Cup, Wayne Rooney will be gracing his third World Cup with the England team. To this point, though, Rooney has amazingly never scored a goal at a World Cup finals, and now, at the age of 28, it is time for Rooney to finally step up and perform the way everybody knows he can on the grand World Cup stage.
When Rooney first burst into the limelight as a 16-year-old playing for Everton, he seemed destined to not only be a star in the Premier League, but on all stages available to him. It would now be safe to say, 12 years on, that he has not performed on the biggest stage of all, a World Cup, to the level that he is truly capable of.
How many World Cups does Rooney now have left? He will be 32 for the 2018 tournament in Russia, and although he could still be involved at that point, this tournament in Brazil will almost certainly be the final World Cup he will play in the prime of his career. Rooney will know that as well as anybody, and could that motivate him to finally shine in Brazil?
The Manchester United striker has always been a vital piece of the England team, but his role may be even more crucial this time around as an experienced player among a youthful, and inexperienced, England team. Rooney may prove to be a positive influence and a leader off the pitch for the youngsters, but it will be on the pitch where he will ultimately be judged.
Rooney is only the current England team’s star player through reputation and expectation — not through performances on the pitch. But he can still earn that position as the leader and the talisman of the team, if he can finally perform at a World Cup.
There is no question about whether he is capable of doing that. He is more than capable of lighting up the entire tournament; whether he actually does it or not is the open question. Unfortunately for Rooney, he’s running out of time to make that mark on this particular stage, and that’s why now is the time when Rooney needs to finally step out from the shadows at a World Cup finals.